Fall 2024 History UN3803 section 001

THE MUGHAL MEMOIRS

Call Number 12087
Day & Time
Location
T 2:10pm-4:00pm
To be announced
Points 4
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required None
Instructor Manan Ahmed
Type SEMINAR
Method of Instruction In-Person
Course Description

The early sixteenth century rise of the Mughal authority in North India coincided with the arrival of the Portuguese in South India, the emergence of Safavid empire, and the dominance of the Ottoman empire. Within the first hundred years, even more claimants to imperial power in India – the British, the French, the Rajput, the Maratha – were engaged in political negotiations, resistance and accommodation with the Mughal. We will follow the course of the development of Mughal political thought, economic and environmental impact and courtly culture through to their official demise in 1857.

The first four emperors of Mughal India left various accounts for us. Babur (r. 1525–1530), the founder of the dynasty, wrote an autobiography. Memoirs of the second, Humayun (r. 1530–1556), were written by his sister, and others in his army. The third, Akbar (r. 1556–1605) was the subject of the most amazing regnal history-- written by his minister and aide Abu'l Fazl. His son Jahangir (r. 1605–1627), recorded his daily activities and thoughts in his own journal that was published by him. 

To best engage with this complex universe, we will use the semantic vocabulary of ‘seeing’. This course will delve into how Mughal emperors saw their world and how they narrated it. This course is almost exclusively focused on primary readings. We will read large portions of the texts written by the Mughal elite. We will read them to examine their treatment of sacral landscape, nature and environment, gender, social networks, power and violence, agency and interiority, performativity, usage of history and memory.

This focus on memoir and autobiographical writing would allow us to delve far deeply into the socio-cultural worlds of the Mughal then is possible via a perfunctory reading of secondary sources.

Web Site Vergil
Department History
Enrollment 10 students (13 max) as of 1:06PM Thursday, July 18, 2024
Subject History
Number UN3803
Section 001
Division Interfaculty
Note Add to waitlist & see instructions on SSOL
Section key 20243HIST3803W001